This post for Masala Lentils is the second time I have made this dish and part of a small back to back Indian series I have put forward. The first time I made this dish, I made it for my wife (AJ) and me. I knew my son would love it. This is my law school son who is in Chicago this summer as a summer associate. He tries to eat a decent percentage of his meals vegetarian and he really likes Indian food. So I knew he would like this recipe. He is living downtown, and we made a deal, where we go downtown for dinner one week and he comes home for dinner on the next weekend.
Obviously, this Masala Lentils recipe was one of his times back at the house. I think that this dinner might have been in his 2 day transition to downtown before he formally moved downtown. Nonetheless, I wanted to make this recipe for him. The first time I made this for AJ and me, we absolutely loved it. The flavor from the the cilantro and the spices including the cumin, coriander, garam masala, and the secret ingredient, the smoked paprika are amazing. The tomato paste makes for the perfect consistency for this Masala Lentils. I loved the flavor so much that I tried a fusion recipe of Masala Fettuccini for AJ and me. She was very negative about the idea until she tasted it. We loved it too.
This dish is so simple. I used to do Indian recipes that were so difficult. This dish is packed with flavor and pretty darn easy to make. The ingredients are thrown in a food processor and then into a pan. That’s it. This dish really proves how simple ingredients can create so much flavor. The cumin, coriander, garam marsala have such deep flavors in and of themselves. Then, the tomato paste perfects the texture and the cilantro adds just the right freshness to this sauce.
- 1½ teaspoons cumin
- 1½ teaspoon coriander
- 1-3 teaspoons red pepper flakes*
- 1 tablespoons smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons garam marsala
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- ⅓ cup packed cilantro leaves
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 small red onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ⅓ cup masala paste
- 1 – 29 ounce can of stewed tomatoes
- 1 cup coconut milk
- ½ cup lentils
- 2 – 3 handfuls spinach
- In a small food processor, add red pepper flakes, smoked paprika, cumin, coriander, garam marsala, and salt and pulse. Give a couple pulse to incorporate.
- Next, add avocado oil, tomato paste, and cilantro leaves. Pulse until paste forms and everything is well incorporated. Set aside.
- Heat a skillet over medium heat. Melt coconut oil and add diced onion, cooking until translucent, 4-5 minutes. Add in minced garlic and cook for one more minute.
- Stir in masala paste and cook for 1-2 minutes, then stir in stewed tomatoes and coconut milk. Stir together and bring to a boil.
- Add in lentils and reduce heat to medium low. Cook, stirring often, until lentils are tender, 20-25 minutes. Finish by folding in the spinach.
- Serve and enjoy!
The spices and cilantro added to the Cuisinart and then fully blended.
The mixed ingredients are transferred to a skillet with sautéed red onions and then the tomatoes and coconut milk are added to round out the sauce.
The lentils are added to absorb some of the liquid and to soften.
Spinach added to wilt and plated.